Reviews – A Poet In New York

by The Passionata Project

Debbie Wiseman once again pens a melodic and free flowing score that subtly ebbs along with the action on screen. In this centenary celebration of poet Dylan Thomas we are treated to musical poetry that pours out with heart felt emotion.

In 1953 Dylan Thomas went to New York for the last time, his marriage a wreck, his drinking out of control. He was on his way to meet Stravinsky and to wallow in New York acclaim – but what was he escaping? How did such a triumph become a requiem? The last days of a great poet.

Debbie Wiseman has become something of a phenomenon when it comes to writing deep and meaningful scores to Film and TV shows. With over 200 credits she is undoubtedly one of the most prolific British composers currently working who attracts a wide range of projects and subject matter, quite often for the national broadcaster (BBC). Recent credits include The Whale, Father Brown, WPC56 but her repertoire and catalogue of scores tells a rich and varied story whilst highlighting her musical talents… if you do not believe me then be sure to listen to her earlier work on Wilde, Haunted or Arsene Lupin.

The piano features very heavily in the story telling here and if you are familiar with Wiseman’s 2013 Piano Stories album you can appreciate how she has an uncanny ability to write music that dances around with unabashed prose and melody; whilst not being harsh or over-bearing. Tones and references of earlier scores to The Promise and Haunted can be heard but mixed in are slight and sculptured jazzy undertones that transport the listener into the troubled world of the talented but flawed Dylan Thomas. The music lets you feel the loneliness and decay that was consuming the poet; the empty promises and haunted soul!

The jazz tracks such as ‘Anything you need’ and ‘Eighteen Whiskies’ conjure up the appeal of the Big Apple perfectly and you can’t help but imagine driving across the Brooklyn bridge in a yellow cab gazing across the Manhattan skyline before pulling up at your red brick tenement. There are 2 poems on the album accompanied by Wiseman’s score and this lets you experience just how perfectly matched the music and words are whilst letting you experience the magic of both Wiseman and Thomas separately.

A pleasing album that lets you drift away into another time before pulling you back to the present day… a strong score that fits perfectly with the subject matter. Put the album on, raise a glass and dream of the green Welsh valleys.

To quote the Director Aisling Walsh: “Debbie found a rather special voice. Her score is lyrical. It is perfectly engaging emotionally and it echoes the character of Dylan Thomas and his poetry

by SoundtrackGeek

A welsh poet in New York. What can go wrong? Well this movie answers that question and providing the score is Debbie Wiseman. If you go by the excellent opening cue ‘A Poet In New York’ we might have a tremendous score on our hands. It starts off so calm and easy with just a guitar, before it builds up into a wonderful theme. ‘Fabulous Filthy City’ is completely different, a sort of jazzy theme, but I think it’s really great for New York. It even includes a sound that must be someone fixing a bike. We hear the same “fixing” in ‘Eighteen Whiskies’. Wiseman brings the Welsh with ‘The Boat House’ and this is really looking to be a great score already.

This score reflects the sadness of the story and also its more pleasant moments. It’s very lyrical and it’s a score you can just pick up and enjoy, even not having seen the movie at all. Pick this up for some excellent music.